Strawberry Swing


Strawberry Swing artwork

Strawberry Swing is a track included on Coldplay’s fourth album. A promo CD single for the song was released on 6 July 2009. It was released as a single globally as a digital download on September 14th 2009. The single made it to the A-list of BBC Radio 1 and the C-List on BBC Radio 2. On 31 July 2009, the free Strawberry Swing application was launched on iTunes.

A live version of the song appeared on Coldplay’s live album, LeftRightLeftRightLeft.


  1. “Strawberry Swing” (Radio edit) – 4:07

  2. “Strawberry Swing” (Album version) – 4:11

  3. “Strawberry Swing” (Instrumental) – 4:10

Writing Composition

This song was one of several potential album cuts with Afro-pop and high-life influences: Here, distortion-free finger-picked guitars which sound straight out of Mali mix with a heavy bassline and psychedelic synths. “My Mum comes from Zimbabwe, so I spent a lot of time there,” says Martin. “I used to work in a studio where people played that.” More gentle than much of the album, it is built around a repetitive African-inspired guitar as a blissed-out Martin sings the touching and slightly psychedelic love song about “such a perfect day”. The overall sound of the song was also inspired by Delakota song “The Rock”, which utilizes a backward guitar loop.

In an interview with, Martin stated that he thought “Strawberry Swing” is arguably the best song on Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends.

Music Video

The music video for Strawberry Swing premiered on 4 Music and Channel 4 on 29 July 2009. The video was being scrutinized by the media for supposedly being “fake”. Chris Martin, the frontman of Coldplay, did a live interview with CNN and provided documented proof from the record company. CNN anchor Bryan Lewis reportedly said “There is no way in hell this video could be fake. The artists took their time and created an incredible video.” The music video prominently features stop animation, with vocalist Chris Martin against the ground on which chalk drawings are elaborately animated.

Kenny, from the video makers Shynola, said he had been worried the Coldplay singer may not have been able to put up with the physically demanding shoot, having tested out some of the poses Martin would have to do. The director said: “Chris Martin is incredibly fit, he’s absolutely ripped. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that. He could do everything really well. He does loads of yoga and we had lots of bits where he was on a trolley and it was physically really difficult for him. I did it for about 10 seconds as a test and after that my hips were hurting so much I just felt incredibly old. After that I thought, ‘We are either gonna kill him, or we’re going to get sued’,” he said.

The video begins with Martin waking up in his house. Once he sees that a woman is being held hostage by a giant squirrel, he turns into a superhero and attempts to save her. Along the way, Martin faces attacks from the squirrel and a giant fish in the ocean. When Martin finally gets to the squirrel’s home, he rescues the lady by drawing a nut-shaped bomb that blows the squirrel up. The two then fly away and begin to kiss. The animation suddenly stops and Martin gets up off the chalk colored floor and walks away. The music video was directed by Shynola.


Shynola were awarded video of the year, best animation in a video and best rock video, while the ceremony at the Odeon West End cinema in Leicester Square, London, also saw veteran video director Kevin Godley present Martin De Thurah from Academy Films with the award for best director. UK Music Video Awards editorial director David Knight says, “It was a great night and one that clearly emphasises the array and quality of both established and emerging talent in the UK music video business. Considering the year that they have had it was really quite moving to see Shynola sweep the board with their remarkable video for Coldplay’s Strawberry Swing.”

Plagiarism claims

In September 2009, the originality of the Shynola-directed video was questioned by singer-songwriter Andy J Gallagher; he argued that “Owen Trevor [who directed Something Else] had virtually the same idea at least a year before.”

In an official PDF statement [1], Shynola stated “Having never seen Mr. Trevor’s video before, we can categorically deny that his video was any influence on our video. Any similarities are purely coincidental.” The PDF also contained image-by-image rebuttals of Gallagher’s claims, and added that the video was mainly inspired by the “dreamlike weirdness” of Winsor McCay’s artwork.

In a previous statement, Gallagher said, “While I can’t say they copied me, there are an awful lot of similarities between my video and theirs. I think it’s unfair that ‘Strawberry Swing’ will probably be nominated for numerous awards and is being universally acclaimed as groundbreaking when [‘Something Else’ director] Owen Trevor had virtually the same idea at least a year before.”

Mr Gallagher goes on to say, under the heading of, “coldplay – the copyright controversy”, the following statement on his website: Further to the increasing coverage the “coldplays video looks an awful lot like andy j gallagher’s one”, i would like to add the following. there are striking similarities between the two videos and we wrote to coldplays management asking them to explain the bizarre coincidences between the videos (both in style and script) and also to qualify chris martins assertion that ‘strawberry swings’ video is “unique and groundbreaking”. suprisingly, they took the time to respond by email with the following: “i’m afraid the creative on the video was written by shynola not coldplay”.


At the UK Music Video Awards Strawberry Swing gained an impressive three category wins, including the coveted Video of the Year, writes Animation Blog. Downloaded already by nearly one million YouTube browsers, the fact that it is the latest official video for Coldplay helps of course. Here is Animation Blog’s online article, from the perspective of the unjaundiced eye reviewing the best of world animation:

But we focus on the movies here. A mix of stop motion and live action, the video features the lead singer cast in the role as super hero intent on saving a drowning lady. Off he leaps into the air in a desperate attempt to save the day, beating biplane, hitch-hiking clouds, using his umbrella both to fend off missiles from a dastardly giant squirrel as well as elude the attentions of an equally massive catfish… add a spot of leaping off high buildings as any self-respecting superhero should and you have the idea. Strawberry Swing was produced by Shynola a London based studio formed by four graduates from The Kent Institute of Art and Design. Chris Harding, Richard Kenworthy and Jason Groves spent three months making the piece, a long time for a music video when time is of the essence.

Chris Martin in the role of caped rescuer enters into the spirit of the piece, twisting like an acrobat. The star however is the technique, chalk drawings painstakingly animated as backdrop or accompanying character, like squirrel or distressed damsel. The directors inventively fill the four minutes or so with wit and incident. The chalk girl and superstar singer make a fine pair as they fly, James Bond style, from the bushy tailed rodent having given him an explosive present. A final sad note. The directors made this only months after the sudden death almost exactly a year ago of their co-director, Gideon Baws, the fourth founding member of the team. He was only 33 and loved by those who worked with him.

Fans’ favourite Coldplay video

Strawberry Swing is your favourite Coldplay video from the Viva Era! We’ve had a good response to our latest poll [2] – over 3200 votes have been cast in just a few weeks. We asked you what your favourite video from Viva la Vida era was – and interestingly the last three videos that Coldplay put out are so far the most popular. Shynola’s hard work on the Strawberry Swing is recognised as it gets the highest number of votes, followed by the creativity of the Life In Technicolor ii stage-show in second and the fast-paced Lovers In Japan follows closely in third.

The Oracle on Strawberry Swing

March 19, 2012 – submitted by Dominic, United States of America

Q. Hi Oracle,

I was showed my friends the other day the video to Strawberry Swing because I loved it and they were really impressed by it. However, they questioned many times whether each scene was drawn by chalk or if it was done on computer. I’m curious as to how long it took to make the video and if each shot was really drawn out?

Thank You,

The Oracle replies:

Yes, they really did draw out each scene in chalk as Anchorman found out in his Shynola interview.

September 15, 2010 – submitted by Kathryn, United States of America

Q. Did the band win the award for the Strawberry Swing music video? I missed the TV program and I really want to know! Thanks 🙂

The Oracle replies:

MTV’s Video Music Awards were held on September 12. Coldplay’s Strawberry Swing was shortlisted for Breakthrough Video but the award went to The Black Keys for Tighten Up.


They were sitting
They were sitting under strawberry swing
Every moment was so precious

They were sitting
They were talking under strawberry swing
Everybody was for fighting
Wouldn’t wanna waste a thing

Cold, cold water, bring me round
Now my feet won’t touch the ground
Cold, cold water, what you say
When it’s such, it’s such a perfect day
Such a perfect day

I remember we were walking up to strawberry swing
I can’t wait until the morning
Wouldn’t wanna change a thing

People moving all the time
Inside a perfectly straight line
Don’t you wanna just curve away?
When it’s such, it’s such a perfect day
It’s such a perfect day

Now the sky could be blue I don’t mind
Without you, it’s a waste of time
Could be blue I don’t mind
Without you, it’s a waste of time
Could be blue, could be grey
Without you I’m just miles away
Could be blue I don’t mind
Without you it’s a waste of time